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Grand Final 2022 Round Up

19 Jul 2022

What an incredible event! Every year we are blown away by the rising standard of the speakers; their authority on their chosen topic and their eloquence.

Just in case you missed the event, here’s everything you need to know.

Michael Akinyemi from St Benedict’s Catholic College, captivated an audience of more than 500 at Covent Garden’s Cambridge Theatre on Monday 18th July, earning him the title of Grand Champion winner of Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! 2021-22. 

Using his natural charm and crafted storytelling, Michael entertained the judges and audience while sharing some personally observed truths; “Those who came before me were just as strong mentally as they were physically, my ancestors. 400 years later my father comes to England, a fighter…carrying resilience in his left hand and courage in his right.”

Michael will receive £2,000 for himself and £3,000 for his school, St Benedict’s Catholic College to be spent on a project of his choice.

Runner-up position went to Izzy Hilton of Westcliff High School for Girls, near Southend, Essex. Izzy shared her personal experience of her tic disorder. She explains “I refuse to let something as simple as a tic disorder get in the way of my life, because tics aren’t always Tourette’s, they’re not a social video to be laughed at, they are a part of who I am.”

Third place was taken by Grace McCarthy of St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in Brent, North London. Grace opened her speech with the statement; “Sometimes I think that my skirt in higher than the emphasis the government places on the safety of women. Sometimes I think that my heels are higher than the value placed upon keeping us safe. Sometimes I think that my make up is better made up than the policies that are designed to protect us.”

Fourth place was awarded to Maya Redley from Leytonstone School in East London. Maya’s speech questions beauty standards set out in films for her childhood. 

You can watch these winning speeches and find all the photos from the night here.

CONGRATULATIONS to every single young person who took part in Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! this year.